Can Dogs Have Onions? Let’s Talk Toxic

Sometimes a kitchen was made for crying. Especially if you’re chopping up some onions. Because your eyes are filled with tears, your coordination takes a hit, and you swipe an onion off of the counter. Almost on cue, your fur baby swoops in for the taking. Now you aren’t crying from the chopping, but from the concern for your dog’s health. All you think is, “Can dogs have onions?”

While the worst damage onions do to us hoomans is cause bad breath and an abundance of tears, they can do worse to your furry friend. Truthfully, the answer to “Can dogs have onions?” is a strict no.

And here’s why:


Can Dogs Have Onions, At All?

Like some other human foods, onions can potentially harm your pup’s health.

Because onions contain dangerous toxins, they should never be fed to your fur baby. While small amounts of onions likely cause little harm to your pup, it’s never worth taking the risk.

Besides, do your really want that doggy breath to be even stinkier? It’s hard work keeping your pup’s mouth clean and odor-free, and you wouldn’t want to risk that by feeding them a food that’s dangerous, anyways.

As I mentioned, onions contain dangerous toxins, called N-propyl disulfide. The name alone is a little off-putting, but the health concerns it causes for your pup are even more unsettling.

This toxic compound causes red blood cells to break down, which leads to an illness called anemia.


How Does This Toxin Work?

Without getting too into the scientific jargon, N-propyl disulfide damages red blood cells in your dog’s body.

The toxin attaches to red blood cells and reduces their ability to carry oxygen. Also, the toxin tricks your furry friend’s immune system. This trickery encourages your pup’s immune system to attack their own red blood cells.

This is how the toxin causes red blood cells to break down.


Are All Parts Of The Onion Toxic?

Quite frankly, yes they are. The flesh, leaves, skin, juice, and even onion powder all contain the dangerous toxin, N-propyl disulfide.

Cooked or raw, steamed or fried, the onion still poses a risk for your dog’s health.

Because a lot of foods contain onion powder, especially soups, make sure to check the ingredients label before giving any to your dog.

According to the American Kennel Club, it takes 100 grams of onion (the size of a medium onion) per 45 pounds of a dog’s weight to cause toxic health risks.

Essentially, a 45 pound dog that eats an entire, medium onion will likely require medical attention. Because the size of a medium onion seems like a lot, think of it this way. Your pup, as precious as they are, probably can’t resist a bag of onion rings left unattended.

If they devour those onion rings, they probably ate even more than one, medium onion. And that’s dangerous territory for your furry friend. Especially if they’re little.

A dog that has consumed a large amount of onions likely displays these symptoms:

  • Weakness and Lethargy
  • Decreased Appetite
  • Reddish Urine
  • Pale Gums
  • Fainting
  • Vomiting
  • Panting and Elevated Heart Rate

A dog showing any of these symptoms needs medical attention, and needs it soon. Take that pup to the vet and get them back to good health.


It’s Allium In The Family

Onions, garlic, shallots, leeks, and chives are all a part of the Allium family. Any Allium family veggie contains harmful toxins and presents a risk to your pup’s health.

So, can dogs have onions? No, they cannot. And, hey, that’s not too bad of news. Now you have an excuse to keep those delicious onion rings all to yourself. Your dog won’t be able to shame you when you know they can’t have any onions!

By the way, there are plenty of other human foods to give your dog. Just in case you still feel guilty eating all of those onion rings in front of your canine companion.

Chase Correll